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Comment on Proposal_PMMA-20428_SA-Malawi

Posted: Sun Sep 15, 2019 7:41 pm
by Rose Fiamohe
Title of Proposal: The unintended consequences of the Malawi Farm Input Subsidy Programme (FISP): Women's entrepreneurship and financial inclusion

1. Scientific contribution: Does the paper make a relevant theoretical, methodological and/or empirical contribution and is this made clear in the paper?

The Malawi Farm Input Subsidy Program (FISP) aims at helping poor farmers for purchasing inputs at a reduced price and enhancing food security. The research project contributes to estimate spilovers effect of the FISP programme on women’s entrepreneurship and financial inclusion.

Yet what is not clear is the theory of change prensented in the study. The main hypothesis of the study is that the FISP could make more resources available to households. The study assumes that If women command more these resources, discrimination could be reduced, allowing them to obtain credit and improve their businesses or embark on new ventures. My question is How the study can show whether women command or not these ressources ?


2. Methodology: Does the methodology used allow the researcher to adequately answer the research issues? Is it applied correctly? If not, can you suggest possible improvements?

- The way the econometric method is presented is meant to answer only the main research question (referring to : Does a generic program such as FISP lead to specific improvements in women’s entrepreneurship and financial inclusion?) and not really the 3 specifics research questions. For example : how the study will answer the 2nd specific question ? (does improved women’s bargaining power allow them to participate in village banks savings schemes and increase access to credit through formal channels?) (please see section 1.2)

- The FISP is a dummy variable that represents 1 if a household received at least one voucher and zero otherwise. Could we know at what extent this dummy variable varies over the three years ? There Is an issue if it does not vary since the program covered the same household for the 3 years.

- The study will use alternativelly the FISP as a count variable, indicating the number of vouchers the household used, ranging from 0 to 4. Could we consider this variable as a continuous variable ? I think 0 to 4 does not vary enough to be considered as a continuous variable.

- The outcomes variables could be more explained (continuous/dummy/etc… variables). How do you measure explicitly : access to credit and participation in village savings cooperatives, business ownership and management ? This is not clear in the proposal

- The study states that « Higher rainfall than what is required for suitable crop harvests results in low yields. On the other hand, droughts also results in poor harvest and hence low yields ». This implies that rainfall may also affect the outcome according to the study’s theory of change.

- At what level the instrument « rainfall » will be measured ? It should be at a more decentralized level/village in order to ensure variability.

- How do you use the Lewbel (2018) method with the intensity of treatment using a count specification (such as Poisson or Negative Binomial model) ?

- How to account for the channels in the methodology presented ?


4. Literature: Are there any key references that need to be cited but are missing? If so, please indicate the relevant missed references.

Bola Amoke Awotide, Aziz Karimov, Aliou Diagne, Tebila Nakelse (2013). The impact of seed vouchers on poverty reduction among smallholder rice farmers in Nigeria. https://doi.org/10.1111/agec.12079

5. Presentation: Is the presentation satisfactory in terms of language and clarity? Please note that all accepted final research reports will be fully edited by a professional editor.

The presentation was clear and satisfactory.